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A Democrat-controlled US Congress could implement a carbon price by way of budget reconciliation if they take control of the Senate after next month’s election, avoiding procedural challenges that could stifle climate-related legislation even if Republicans lose the White House and upper chamber, a panel said Tuesday.
Poland will propose this week the creation of a new ‘energy solidarity fund’ for poorer EU nations and an alternative free allowance allocation as part of next year’s carbon market revamp, according to a government paper.
EUAs fell further towards €24 on Tuesday, further extending this week’s four-month low and testing another important technical level as wider financial markets remained pressured by coronavirus concerns.
The UN is supporting North Macedonia’s efforts to set up a national carbon tax in the coming months, according to a document seen by Carbon Pulse.
Third quarter emissions in the Northeast US RGGI cap-and-trade programme rose year-on-year, according to preliminary data, with market participants not anticipating CO2 output to decline significantly due the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Korean CO2 allowances are recovering gradually amid steady demand, albeit in limited volumes and as regulatory uncertainties put a limit on available supply.
French oil major Total has delivered its first shipment of carbon neutral LNG, in the latest delivery of the fuel to China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Bond preferences – There’s a way for the European Central Bank to account for climate risks in its stimulus programmes without the time-consuming preparatory work officials often say is needed, according to the New Economics Foundation, Greenpeace, and three British universities. They want the public lender to abandon its “market neutrality” in bond buying to favour debt from “potentially green” and renewable sectors to put pressure on companies to provide more information even ahead of the EU’s green taxonomy defining green investments. (Bloomberg)
Aid ache – Nearly 80% of climate finance to developing countries took the form of loans, rather than grants, according to development charity Oxfam. Rich countries are committed to mobilise $100 bln per year by 2020. Oxfam analysed the latest 2017-18 figures when developed countries reported delivering $59.5 bln. It said rich countries gave just $12.5 bln in grants, $22 bln in loans with better-than-market rates, and around $24 bln in loans with standard market rates. (Climate Home)
Exit strategies – A new report by the LSE Grantham Institute has put forward a series of net-zero-aligned investments that the UK can place at the heart of its plan for recovery, covering energy efficiency in buildings, natural capital projects, bicycle infrastructure, renewable generation and distribution, EV production and charging infrastructure, CCUS, and hydrogen production. The study summarises evidence from a range of sources including ex-post evaluations and more forward-looking forecast-based studies, looking at short-run and long-run job creation and broader benefits.
California dreaming – UK car companies could face “California-style” EV sale mandates under plans being considered by the government seeking the most efficient way of delivering their pledge to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035. It would allow EV grants and other subsidies to be phased out while ensuring sales rose rapidly and help attract electric car manufacturers to Britain. (The Times)
Sham standards – A group of 11 states and the District of Columbia urged the US EPA to strengthen the first-ever proposed standards regulating GHG emissions from airplanes and other aircraft. The state attorneys general, led by California, said the EPA emissions rules proposed in July were “entirely insufficient”, with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra adding that the “sham proposal to regulate it is the equivalent of doing nothing.” The EPA’s requirements would apply to new-type designs as of Jan. 2020 and to in-production airplanes or those with amended type certificates starting in 2028. (Reuters)
Smaller structure – US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s building efficiency plan would avoid far fewer emissions than the ambitious Green New Deal, according to a report published Tuesday. Energy efficiency analyst and advocate Carbon Switch said Biden’s plan would reduce annual CO2 emissions by 6.6 Mt by 2025 through upgrading 500,000 homes per year at the cost of $7,000 per house. In contrast, the Green New Deal, which seeks to make energy efficiency upgrades to all US. homes, would upgrade 8 million homes per year at a cost of $40,000 per home and would reduce emissions by 263 Mt per year by 2025. (Politico)
The Trump doth protest too much – The Trump re-election campaign protested climate change’s inclusion on a list of six topics for the last presidential debate on Thursday. According to Politico, in a Monday letter the campaign claimed the issues diverted from the central theme previously agreed on by the two campaigns: foreign policy. The letter acknowledged that the topics were “worthy of discussion” but said they were already covered during the first presidential debate last month. That debate, which was marred with crosstalk and personal insults, prompted the commission to change the format of future debates so the public could better understand the candidates’ positions (expect muted mics this week). The Trump campaign also accused the commission of shielding Joe Biden from having to speak about his foreign policy record. Biden’s campaign retorted that the campaigns and the commission “agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics.” The debate commission announced last week that the event will focus on six topics: climate change, the coronavirus pandemic, race and national security, as well as abstract ideas such as “leadership” and “American families.”
Eighteen and up – California’s total GHG emissions rose slightly in 2018 due largely to lower hydroelectric power use, according to a report released Monday by state regulator ARB. The state emitted the equivalent of 425 mln tonnes of CO2e in 2018, about 1 mln more than in 2017. Emissions overall remained well below the state’s 2020 climate target of 431 Mt, which the state hit four years early, in 2016. The ARB previously released 2018 emissions data for companies regulated under the state’s WCI-linked carbon market last November. (LA Times)
Awkward air travel – The Daily Telegraph reports on a study finding climate change researchers fly more frequently than those from other disciplines. A survey of more than 1,400 university researchers found climate researchers took about five flights a year compared to four for non-climate researchers, before the coronavirus pandemic. Rates among climate scientists were higher even after taking into consideration the fact they conducted more fieldwork. The study’s lead author called the survey findings “unexpected” but said they prove “knowledge is not enough” to change workplace behaviour. (Carbon Brief)
And finally… Tiny timbah – Environmentalists hope the concept of miniature forests, which was developed in Japan 50 years ago, could help tackle climate change. Developed by botanist Akira Miyawaki, the eponymous method centres on densely planting a wide variety of native trees in a small space – about 600 trees in an area the size of a tennis court. The theory is native trees are more likely to establish and thrive and, if planted in such a way as to promote competition, will grow more quickly. In fact, Miyawaki’s approach requires forests to be planted so densely that after eight months, sunlight can’t reach the ground. At this point, every drop of rain that hits the area is conserved, and every leaf that falls is converted into nutrient-rich humus, thus eliminating the need for labour-intensive woodland management. Furthermore, a mix of native rather than non-native trees all work together to provide different layers of forest, as well as each layer providing its own benefits, such as biodiversity, carbon capture, flood mitigation, air quality, and noise mitigation. In other words, Miyawaki found a way to create super forests that produced mature, native forest in 10 years – 10 times the normal rate of forests planted by humans. Moreover, they also created a habitat with 20 times more usual levels of biodiversity potential. (Telegraph, $)
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